A mere decade ago moving from paper files to online systems seemed like an impossible task for many in the legal profession yet now, in 2017, almost all law firms are using some form of software and have tried, within regulatory restrictions, to embrace a leaner technology led approach in the provision of their services.
In recent years, there has been a marked acceleration in legal innovation with some of the incredible B2B and B2C achievements in the last 12 months alone standing as testimony to this:
· blockchain and e-discovery are both super-hot topics, with digital footprints and technology assisted reviews (TAR) starting to look really sexy;
· integrated contracts workflow startup Juro closed a solid $750k seed round allowing them to support more powerful features down the line;
· and let’s not forget our favourite chatbot, donotpay.co.uk, the robot attorney everybody wants.
Inevitably as these innovations become smarter, the capabilities and impact of new technology will make some tasks in the profession redundant altogether.
One example of where the removal of the trusted third party broker in favour of an automated process works perfectly is during the very early stages of raising capital. Long form documents and ancillaries at seed stage are practically identical and even the personalized requirements of certain funds now come in a standard format and can easily be introduced as coded variables. If supported by a platform which can guide the founder to correctly structure the company from the offset, provide tools to assist with growth, and show exit scenarios to help with longer term decision making, this uncomplicated transaction falls neatly into the ‘elimination’ category predicted by Deloittes 2016 analysis.
The reality as of now is that the use of artificial intelligence in the legal profession acts as a useful servant to efficiently administer mundane and repetitive tasks not worthy of a large hourly fee.
Ironically, where it can go after that will not be tested by each version release but ultimately by a decision made in some future landmark dispute adjudicated on by actual humans in a physical court of law.